Crisis Management (CM) and Social Media (SM) By: Ehsan Khodarahmi
What is CM Crisis in fact is an unattended issue. The word crisis comes from Greek word “Krisis” which means “choice” and “ decision”. So it’s all about hard facts and evidence as opposed to speculation and manipulation. This is however, the way many businesses and organisations have been practicing CM. There is a right or wrong way of handling crisis, so having process and policy in place with exceptional organisation is crucial to systematically define crisis variables and act strategically.
Types of crisis <ul><li>Very simple classification of crisis: </li></ul><ul><li>Predictable: Whatever involves management decision making and leadership. </li></ul><ul><li>Managers sometimes undermine scale of a situation or set their selfish desires at the hub, since they are obsessed with making decisions which just benefit them. When things go wrong they enter another mind game and call it “Crisis Management”. </li></ul><ul><li>But to be frank what they call “crisis management” is not actually management, it is covering up. So the true name for this type of crisis is Crisis Cover Up. </li></ul><ul><li>There are always signs and signals alerting managers about crises, but only if they read the signs in time, they don’t get into crisis to cover up anything. </li></ul><ul><li>Unpredictable: Natural disasters. </li></ul><ul><li>As we are all well aware of natural disasters, we can estimate </li></ul><ul><li>when they might occur and be prepared accordingly; to avoid surprises. </li></ul>
CM via SM fails without integrity But by emerging SM such traditional mind set to CM has come to end and it is the time for brands to change their attitude while being more transparent and honest. As soon as an issue turns to crisis its management becomes difficult, if not impossible. A simple apology is for now, but the effects of the crisis last for long if not for ever; due to the indefinite memory of the worldwide web. Habitat UK unethical use of #IranElection is a classic example to misusing SM, which backfired them and forced them to leave SM and hire PR agency to rebuild their damaged image. Or EuroStar’s lack of communication with their passenger and mishandling customers expectations in the freezing cold Channel Tunnel and incredibly rude French staff, which cost the company very negative comments and their reputation.
There is no if, there is no but…it is a hard reality out there. Generally speaking, no matter why and how a situation arises, it is usually lack of management and intelligent communication. International Students House (ISH), a registered charity, is a prime example to irrational thinking and irresponsible marketing. Unethical ISH was selling two pints of beet for £1 – in fact cheaper than water and clearly promoting binge drinking virally and via unsolicited emails. Advertising Standard Authority received complaints for which they took action. Factually ISH has brought shame to the world of charity. They have been selling cigarettes via unattended vending machines within their premises and allowing under 18s get into their “ISH Bar”. Westminster Fair Trade Office sent officers to the charity to investigate the situation. All these was blogged about and ISH’s international contacts were informed via international bloggers. Socialising is interpreted as being irresponsible
SM is open abuse by individuals as well as organisations You never know who’s listening to your conversation and how they use it; so extensive care should be taken to be always safe. This is just a very small example of someone being rude enough to allow herself listening to others conversation to have something tweet about….
What you all may already know Don’t blame any body, just take the ownership and don’t say you care, but show that you care by acting ethically and be truly sorry for your lack responsiveness at the point you should have really cared. Recent examples proved how dishonest organisations suffer, thanks to SM and the real time search results. No comment is not a comment, this in fact indicates untruthfulness of the organisation. Honesty is the word extensively used by unethical and dishonest individual businesses and charities, so act with integrity and let your ethical actions speak for themselves. If the majority disagree with you, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are wrong; it might be because they sit in their comfort zone and see your effort to change as threat to their survival. Dare to be different ethically and you have the support of the public with no doubt! (unless others manipulate them, but this wouldn’t last long).